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BBQ Indian Tandoori Chicken

BBQ tandoori chicken is as close as you will get to real Indian chicken cooked in a tandoor, the fiercely hot temperatures are the secret.

Combined with my simple tandoori marinade this dish is the perfect way to turn up your summer BBQ game!

Portrait image of a BBQ tandoori chicken drumstick with surrounded by out of focus chicken

Tandoori Chicken and the Very Best Way to Cook it

Traditionally tandoori chicken is cooked in a wood-fired clay “oven” called a tandoor.

They reach insane temperatures approaching 480°C or 900°F.

It is that insane dry heat that gives a good tandoori chicken its distinct flavour and characteristics.

You can get part of the way with boneless chicken but using a grill or broiler. I use this approach in my butter chicken recipe and the way that I do all of my tikka recipes.

If tikka is your thing, here are my offerings, chicken tikka, lamb tikka, paneer tikka and salmon tikka.

But that method really does not cut it with larger pieces of bone-in chicken.

But many of you have some kit that can get closer than your oven… A BBQ and it is the perfect way to cook tandoori chicken!

Portrait close up image of a BBQ tandoori chicken drumstick with surrounded by out of focus chicken

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I set up my BBQ to emulate a tandoor?

The secret to perfect grilled tandoori chicken is to get that barbecue as hot as you can.

I get the temperature of my BBQ up towards 350-400°C or 650-750°F. To do this you need to keep all of the BBQ vents open at all times because this sucks through lots of air.

You do however need to create two cooking zones, if you put your chicken over the direct coals you will get charcoal.

This is exactly the same process that I use to cook my whole tandoori fish, you can also cook my tandoori lamb chops and tandoori cod loin in the same way.

Can I cook this in advance?

Yes, tandoori chicken will last in the fridge for 2-3 days and in the freezer for 2-3 months.

Do I have to marinate the chicken?

For this recipe, I would say yes, give it at least four hours, overnight is better, I will often leave it for a full 24 hours.

Can I cook this in the oven or air fryer?

You can but neither get close to the temperatures or indeed the flavour you get cooking this on the BBQ.

Heat your oven or air fryer as hot as it will go and pop in the chicken, stagger adding the chicken as I do in this recipe. It will take around 35 minutes for everything to cook.

Portrait image of kachumber salad in a jar with out of focus tandoori chicken behind it

Serving Suggestions

This recipe is a rare offering from me that serves 4 people rather than two, although it is a challenge not to eat the whole chicken as it tastes so damn good.

I tend to try and save the boneless breast pieces and use them in my chicken tikka masala recipe on day 2.

They also make a fantastic sandwich!

When it comes to side dishes for tandoori chicken, I usually add a kachumber salad and a mint raita, pictured above.

Chana chaat, a chickpea salad kinda dish also makes a wonderful side for tandoori chicken.

Masala chips, roasted Bombay potatoes and my mung bean salad make great additions too!

Landscape image of a tandoori chicken served with raita and onion salad

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • BBQ or Grill with a lid.
  • Kitchen tongs.
  • Mixing bowl.
  • Min blender or pestle and mortar.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Cling film.
  • Quick read meat thermometer.
Square image image of a bbq tandoori chicken
Yield: 4 Servings

BBQ Tandoori Chicken Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Marinade Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 25 minutes

This recipe takes a whole chicken and breaks it down to form the most incredibly glorious meal, nothing short of a Tandoor oven cooks tandoori chicken quite like a BBQ!


  • 1.2kg (2.5 lb) Whole Chicken
  • Pinch of Chat Masala

For the Marinade:

  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 4-5 Tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 150g (⅔ Cup) Plain Yoghurt
  • 6 Garlic Cloves
  • 35g (Thumb Sized Piece) Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin


  1. Break down the chicken into drumsticks, thighs, wings, breasts and chicken tenders.
  2. Cut the chicken breasts into 3 pieces.
  3. Peel the garlic and ginger and place in a blender with the salt and blend to a smooth paste and then transfer to a large bowl. You can do this with a pestle and mortar too.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients for the marinade and mix well.
  5. Throw in the chicken and massage the mix marinade into the meat, cover the bowl with film and then place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, you can leave it for up to 24.
  6. Get your BBQ as hot as you can, making sure you have both a direct and indirect heat zone.
  7. Place the chicken thighs and drumsticks in the indirect heat zone and cook for 5 minutes.
  8. After 5 minutes add the wings and cook for 15-17 minutes.
  9. Finally, add the chicken breast pieces and the chicken tenders and cook for 12-15 minutes.
  10. Check that the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 74°C or 165°F.
  11. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes and sprinkle with a pinch of chat masala before serving.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 700Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 284mgSodium: 875mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 74g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Karen Chan-Lok

Sunday 24th of May 2020

Hi, recipe sounds delicious! Why do you mention kashmiri chilli powder twice in the ingredients? Thank you

Brian Jones

Monday 1st of June 2020

Ah, thanks for noticing that, it is a throwback to an older version of the recipe where I used a two-stage marinade, I have combined it now into one :)

Brian Jones

Wednesday 9th of May 2018

Thank you!


Wednesday 23rd of May 2018

Brian In you recipe what do you do with marinade 1 after the hour? Do you add that to marinade 2 and the chicken for 4 hours or overnight?

Julie @ Running in a Skirt

Tuesday 8th of May 2018

I bet the flavor on this is incredible! I love bbq tandoori together-- sooo good! I bet it would be a hit at a party.

Brian Jones

Wednesday 9th of May 2018

It definitely always goes down a storm.


Thursday 3rd of May 2018

These spices sounds perfect for this dish! Full of flavor! And I love the use of yogurt! I’d love to try this instead of my usual chicken recipe I make! :)

Brian Jones

Friday 4th of May 2018

Yoghurt is pretty much an Indian marinade essential :)


Friday 26th of August 2016

I can't believe how irresistable you can make chicken look! This sounds and looks perfect. I love the Indian flavors ... mmmmmm!

Brian Jones

Friday 2nd of September 2016

Aww you're too kind Whitney!

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